Research Grants 2009


  • Adeline BEAUREPAIRE-HERNANDEZ: Élites et notabilités dans les départements méditerranéens sous le Consulat et l´Empire [Elites and notables in the Mediterranean départements during the Consulate and the Empire]
    PhD thesis supervised by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV Sorbonne

    This thesis aims to be a study of the relatively wealthy, socially speaking heterogeneous, group of French political and administrative figures in the Mediterranean departments, specifically the department electors, mayors, deputy mayors, members of the Conseil général, cantonal presidents, members of the Corps Législatif, members of the Tribunate, Senators, prefects and sub-prefects, during the Empire period. One section will deal with their imperial political and administrative careers, the various responsibilities to which they had access, and the strategies used to achieve their aims. Of particular importance will be the identification of their careers before the application of the French imperial apparatus with its administrative and political structures and the establishment of how these people came to work with the new regime, whether by opportunism of by conviction, or (perhaps most importantly of all) via a whole spectrum of intermediary positions. It may also be possible to consider whether this participation in the imperial political and administrative machine was associated with a specific type of social networking, a specific position within the social framework in the context of the social life of the period.
    A crucial part of the thesis will be a study of the public life of these figures, their ?itineraries?, their status, their social environment, their education, their professional life outside public life as well as the other forms of sociability in which they engaged.
    In order to avoid the pitfalls of considering each figure in an isolated manner, both chronologically and socially, the thesis will consider the group as a whole and as a network. It will be structured around a questionnaire so as to be able to create a prosopographical FileMaker Pro database of these notables.

  • Margarita CIFUENTES-CUENCAS: Le régiment impérial « Alexandre ». Les Espagnols dans l´armée de Napoléon Ier [The ‘Imperial Alexander’. The Spanish in the army of Napoléon I]
    PhD thesis supervised by Fernando Suarez, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid

    On 24 June, 1812, the Grande Armée crossed the Neman River, thus beginning the Russian campaign. The “Army of 20 nations”, as Napoleon referred to it, was made up of troops assembled from all over occupied Europe. Amongst these were swarthy-faced soldiers in white uniform, Spanish troops of the Régiment Joseph Napoléon. Almost all of them were soldiers who had been posted to Denmark after 1806 but who failed to escape following the Dos de Mayo uprising and taken prisoner. These prisoners were subsequently conscripted to boost the army’s strength. From these conscripted men was formed the Régiment Joseph Napoléon, a force of about 14,000 men.
    After the War of Independence, there were roughly 34,000 Spanish prisoners in France. Organisation and recruitment of potential soldiers were conferred on Maréchal Kindelán, who combed through the prisoners in search of volunteers. Initially destined for Spain as reinforcements for Joseph, Napoleon in the end chose to use them in his Russian campaign. These were integrated into the First (under Maréchal Davout) and Fourth (Eugène de Beauharnais) corps of the army. One group in particular, having participated in some of the most important battles of the campaign, was then absorbed into the Russian army on 9 December, 1812, at Vilnius, during the last days of the fateful retreat. These soldiers were to form Tsar Alexander’s new infantry regiment, known as the “Imperial Alexander”.

  • Joseph HORAN: Fibre d´Empire. Culture du coton à l´époque napoléonienne [The fibre of the Empire. The culture of cotton in the Napoleonic period]
    PhD thesis supervised by Darrin MacMahon and Rafe Blaufarb, Florida State University

    Between 1806 and 1814, Napoleon?s Interior Ministry mounted a concerted effort to naturalize cotton to southern France. The goal of this project was to secure a domestic supply of this valuable material, thus ending reliance on British shipping, commerce and manufactures. Working closely with local administrators and leading scientists, the Ministry distributed cotton seeds and instructional materials to landowners throughout southern France, as well as in the parts of Italy that had been annexed to the French Empire. Although ultimately unsuccessful, this project was clearly an important episode in the history of the Napoleonic era. The effort to introduce cotton was based on an ambitious plan to transform the environment, economy and social structure of southern France. My dissertation will assess the aims, methods and outcomes of cotton cultivation during the Napoleonic era. I will also describe cotton cultivation in the context of several broader themes in Napoleonic history, including the economic rivalry with Great Britain, the development of the French textile industry, and the expansion of the French state.

  • Émile KERN : D´un bicentenaire à l´autre : les images de Napoléon Bonaparte (1969-2009) [From one bicentenary to another: images of Napoleon Bonaparte 1969-2009]
    PhD thesis supervised by Christian Amalvi, Paul Valery-Montpellier III

    The different polemics which arose in 2005 at the moment of the commemoration, or rather non-commemoration, of the Battle of Austerlitz by the French state, show that Napoleon I remains more than ever a great figure in the history of France. The divisions within the French public but also the greater or lesser interest of France?s leaders in the great man, can be traced through the centenaries celebrated by Napoleon III and later by the Third Republic.
    However, of all the celebrations, that of the bicentenary of Napoleon?s birth, in 1969, prepared by Général de Gaulle and celebrated by Georges Pompidou, managed to create a sense of unanimity with respect to Napoleon I.
    The aim of this thesis is to highlight the divergences in opinion regarding the ?Remembrance of Napoleon I?, the contexts for the commemorations, and the way in which the emperor was represented, whether positively or negatively.


  • Vincent HUET: Les Parisiens et la politique sous Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (1850-1870): des barricades aux urnes [Parisians and politics under Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (1850-1870): barricades at the voting booth]
    PhD thesis supervised by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV Sorbonne

    The various different political activities adopted by Parisians between 1850 and 1870 form the crux of this thesis. It aims to understand the development of new means of political action, markedly different to those seen under previous regimes, which were generally characterised by political violence and popular insurrection. Popular vote came to the fore, alongside demonstrations, petitions and subscriptions which developed over the period. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s policies during the Second Republic and the Empire facilitated this transition towards more modern democratic practices. Revolutionaries were repressed and the preservation of law and order became rationalised. These moves, combined with the reaffirmation of universal suffrage and popular vote as the legal and legitimate means for demonstrating one’s political opinion, effectively forced Parisians to abandon their traditional practices. Although these old traditions could always be revived – the Commune is evidence of that – Parisians now at least had a choice. This process of transition forms part of the more general movement of “modernisation” which took place in Paris and France during the Second Empire.

  • Nicolas PERSONNE: Les appartements des chasses au château de Fontainebleau, étude architecturale mobilière et décorative [The hunting apartments at Fontainebleau, a study of architecture, furniture and decorative arts]
    PhD thesis supervised by Yves Carlier, Ecole du Louvre

    The two hunting apartments at the Château de Fontainebleau were built during Henri IV’s reign and were occupied almost continuously by the princes of the reigning families until the end of the 19th century. They are thus of great historical interest.
    In 1805, the first floor was given over to the Prince and Princess Joseph and its furnishings were entirely renovated. It was however not until the Second Empire when, with the installation of the Prince Impérial, they received their most developed makeover.
    The complete reconstitution of this apartment (which is in fact unique in terms of French great houses) has already made it possible to detect the different particularities of the spaces consecrated to the crown prince, and the change (between 1856-1868) from an environment laid out for a baby to that for a sovereign in the making and his tutor.
    The ground floor will also be studied. Whilst this has not be reconstituted (the fact that the original furniture has been dispersed prevented it) it has been possible, since the opening of a furniture gallery, to make an initial study of the decoration. It was on this occasion that the preponderant role of the Empress Eugénie in the decision-making process for the arrangement of the architecture, decoration and furnishings of the prince?s apartment in the 1860s became obvious. This study provides a better understanding of the life at court during the reign of Napoleon III.


  • Charles RENUCCI: Le patrimoine napoléonien à Ajaccio (1800-1969) [Napoleonic heritage in Ajaccio (1800-1969)]
    PhD thesis supervised by Philippe Chassaigne and Jean-Marc Largeaud, Université François-Rabelais de Tours

    Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, on 15 August, 1769. This town was never a centre of power during the Consulate or the First Empire. Nor was it the site for one of Napoleon’s imperial residences. It was not even central to the Emperor’s “glorious warrior” self-mythologising. And yet, the history of the city of Ajaccio is inseparable from that of Napoleon. Nor can the bond that ties him to this piece of Corsica be reduced simply to that between a man and his homeland. This connection can be traced all the way from the French Emperor’s youth right up to the modern day. The young Bonaparte’s baptism certificate is the beginning of this enduring relationship, which we propose to study right up to 1969 and the bicentenary of his birth.
    From the Consulate to the Fifth Republic, Ajaccio was a place where the myth, the legend and the cult of Napoleon became embedded in the daily life of its people. Evidence of this relationship is everywhere. Besides the visual and toponymic aspects, which are apparent to anyone walking through the streets of Ajaccio, there is a real Napoleonic presence in the history of this town, trace of which is still visible today. Its political life, its urbanism and its development, its demonstrations and its notoriety as an imperial city, amongst other things, are all elements on which the memory of Napoleon had an influence. Moreover, the inhabitants of Ajaccio have themselves gradually appropriated this Napoleonic heritage. Corsican folklore overflows with references to Napoleon. The Emperor became and remains a symbol for this population: from its beginnings as early local pride to a truly modern-day tourist asset, this image has evolved in tandem with society.
    Thus, the objective of this thesis is to analyse the relationship between the place, Ajaccio, and the figure, Napoleon. The final aim of this work will be to determine whether Ajaccio can be considered a Napoleonic ‘realm of memory’.